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  1. #1
    Site Moderator Ariadne's Avatar
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    One of my characters wants to create a magical mirror (when ready, I'll post it here). My question is: How common is glass in Cerilia (my character lives in Khinasi).

    IMO glass should be less expensive, where natural sodium and potassium carbonate exists. In the old Egypt where (and are) natural seas of sodium carbonate (potassium carbonate is created through burning wood). That's why glass is known there very early. Are such natural seas found in Khinasi (or elsewhere in Cerilia)?

    Next question: Mirrors are created with a reduction of a silver salt today. Some (cheap) ideas of creating mirrors in Cerilia?

    Please comments...
    May Khirdai always bless your sword and his lightning struck your enemies!

  2. #2
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 02:42 PM 1/6/2003 +0100, Ariadne wrote:

    >How common is glass in Cerilia (my character lives in Khinasi).
    >
    >IMO glass should be less expensive, where natural sodium and potassium
    >carbonate exists. In the old Egypt where (and are) natural seas of sodium
    >carbonate (potassium carbonate is created through burning wood). That`s
    >why glass is known there very early. Are such natural seas found in
    >Khinasi (or elsewhere in Cerilia)?
    >
    >Next question: Mirrors are created with a reduction of a silver salt
    >today. Some (cheap) ideas of creating mirrors in Cerilia?

    Second question first: Tin, lead and mercury were all used as alternate
    metals in mirrors. Lead and mercury, we now know, aren`t the safest
    household items, but tin will work. There`s always polished metal (usually
    bronze or silver) as a reflective surface. Given the actual amount of
    silver used to back a mirror, though, the cost of the material probably
    isn`t going to be that dramatic an influence.

    The materials needed to produce glass are pretty common, and the basic
    process relatively simple. The question of cost is probably more
    accurately reflected by considering the scale and scope of manufacturing
    glass rather than access to the components. In Khinasi there could and
    likely would be small, glass making "shops" and trade organizations,
    particularly in the larger, urban centers. Costs should be based on the
    size of the glass with larger pieces, of course, being more
    expensive. Quality is also an issue, but without some sort of magical aid
    (which there probably would be even in a low magic setting like Cerilia)
    the methods used in later middle age/early Renaissance glass manufacture
    were fairly standard, so the quality of the glass will depend on the skill
    of the craftsman.

    The PHB prices a small, steel mirror at 10gp. In general the prices for
    upgrading materials in 3e run from x2 to x10 of a "base" item, so a
    similarly sized glass mirror might be 50gp. Sizing the mirror up would
    probably cost dramatically more, however. Closer to the x10 price increase
    per size category. (They probably didn`t mean "small mirror" in to mean it
    was sized small when they penned the 3e materials--it`s most likely just a
    holdover from previous editions--but since it seems to fit so nicely into a
    simple math formula I`ll go with it.) A sized medium glass mirror,
    therefore, might cost 10 x 5 x 10 = 500gp. Note that`s size medium for an
    item which probably makes that mirror about 2` x 3`. A full length mirror
    would be size large and cost 5,000gp using that formula.

    Hope that helps.

    Gary

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  3. #3
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    Originally posted by geeman
    The materials needed to produce glass are pretty common
    I don't think these materials are common.Glass was a very precious material in middle-age. Natural sodium and potassium carbonate could not be found in every region.
    my purpose is now to lead you into the Pallace where you shall have a clear and delightful view of all those various objects, and scattered excellencies, that lye up and down upon the face of creation, which are only seen by those that go down into the Seas, and by no other....

  4. #4
    Moo! Are you happy now? Arjan's Avatar
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    I suggest using indeed bronze or silver?
    The mirrors used in Greco-Roman were made of silver.

    hope this helps

    A.
    Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.

  5. #5
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 07:45 PM 1/6/2003 +0100, Azrai wrote:

    >I don`t think these materials are common.Glass was a very precious
    >material in middle-age. Natural sodium and potassium carbonate could not
    >be found in every region.

    Burn an organic compound (usually wood) and you get potassium
    carbonate. Historically it`s called potash or pearl ash since its the
    glossy white powder at the bottom of the vessel the material is "cooked"
    in. Similarly, burning kelp is where glass makers got soda ash or sodium
    carbonate for their glass recipes. Silica, of course, is abundant but
    various "qualities" of sand have different characteristics.

    Gary

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  6. #6
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    If the mirror is for making a magical item, the cost of the mirror would
    count against the ratherexhorbiant cost of creatinbg the magic item - so I
    don`t see any problem with the mirror being expensive. In fact, it is in
    many ways a merit, as it cuts down on the number of other rare/expensive
    components that must be found.


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  7. #7
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    Originally posted by geeman
    Burn an organic compound (usually wood) and you get potassium
    carbonate. Historically it`s called potash or pearl ash since its the
    glossy white powder at the bottom of the vessel the material is "cooked"
    in.
    Yup, this is exactly what Ariadne pointed out. But the question was: do I find this resources in every region? For example wood could be a problem in Kinashi, since you need a very large ammount of creating potash. The natural resources are not trivial at all. In same places in Europe it has been a problem till the 18. century.

    I think your price list is realistic, I would have guessed in the same direction.
    my purpose is now to lead you into the Pallace where you shall have a clear and delightful view of all those various objects, and scattered excellencies, that lye up and down upon the face of creation, which are only seen by those that go down into the Seas, and by no other....

  8. #8
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 01:08 AM 1/7/2003 +0100, you wrote:

    >For example wood could be a problem in Kinashi, since you need a very
    >large ammount of creating potash.

    There are large forested areas of Khinasi. Sure, there wouldn`t be a glass
    industry in the middle of the Tarvan Waste, but there`s very little there
    anyway. When it comes to resources needed to create glass the problem
    would probably be more the amount of wood or other fuel needed to heat the
    kiln long enough to "blend" the components rather than the amount needed to
    create potash. (In a fantasy campaign, of course, there are magical
    solutions to this problem.) Kelp apparently can grow most anywhere in
    coastal waters that are 150` deep or so, which again excludes the Tarvan
    Waste I guess. Sand for silicates, of course, are available widely (the
    one resource even in the Tarvan Waste has in abundance.)

    It does require large quantities of wood to make glass. I don`t have any
    information on how much wood, but I would guess it would be comparable to
    the amount necessary to smelt ore, probably less considering the relative
    size of such operations. Some sort of enchanted kiln, however, is a
    distinct possibility in a world where magic exists, especially since in BR
    we have a goddess of fire who loves people who create beautiful things
    (like glassworks) and her priesthood could likely create such items.

    Gary

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    Gary wrote:

    >>It does require large quantities of wood to make glass. I don`t have any
    information on how much wood, but I would guess it would be comparable to
    the amount necessary to smelt ore, probably less considering the relative
    size of such operations<<

    I did some research on the quantities of wood required in pre-industrial production processes a while ago and can give some rough figures. A single glassmaker would require about 2.5 metric tons of potash a year. Depending on the woods used, this would require about 11 tons of wood. A single hectare of forest holds between 120 and 720 tons of wood, depending on the circumstances, with a yearly growth of somewhere between 1.3 and 9 tons.
    I couldn`t find numbers detailing the amount of wood needed to smelt the glass, but in pre-industrial Germany both metal production and glassmaking were regarded as `Holzfresser` (`wood-eater`).
    On average, about 18 tons of wood were required to produce a single ton of wrought iron. Copper was even more wood-consuming, requiring up to 270 tons of wood for a single ton of copper. These numbers are only rough estimates, as the amount of wood needed could vary widely depending on the quality of the ore and other circumstances.
    Well, I guess these numbers help to explain why so much of Cerilia is deforested and why the elves are not overly fond of those wood-burning humans.
    BTW, the glass industry in England was required by law to use coal instead of wood since 1635, as wood was apparently to valuable and becoming to scarce.

    The glass produced in Venice was regarded to be of the best quality in medieval Europe. The Venetian glassmakers used the coastal plants of their a area to create high quality potash that produced clear glass. The `forest glass` produced in other areas was usually green and considered to be of a lesser quality. I believe something similiar to the Venetian glass industry would be suitable for Kinasi as well.

    Mirrors usually were produced by adding a layer of mercury to a plate of glass, a hazardeous process for the workers.

    Well, I hope this wasn`t too boring and can be of use too someone,

    As an afterthought, you might want to check out the d20 supplement Spells&Magic, produced by Bastion press, which has a mirror mage prestige class and gives a description of the production process for creating mirrors. Basically, the process boils down to two craft (mirror) checks during different stages of the process, with a DC of 10 +1 per inch of diameter of the mirror.

    Christoph Tiemann

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  10. #10
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    Thank you Beruin for your interesting comment.
    my purpose is now to lead you into the Pallace where you shall have a clear and delightful view of all those various objects, and scattered excellencies, that lye up and down upon the face of creation, which are only seen by those that go down into the Seas, and by no other....

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